EPPING, N.H. --
The much-anticipated high-horsepower showcase of the world's quickest and fastest accelerating machines finally arrives at New England Dragway for the inaugural Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals, June 20-23.
An NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event is a celebration of automotive performance and one of the most fan-friendly, driver-accessible events in the world of major league sporting events. When the series visits the state of New Hampshire, families can take advantage of a special ticket promotion: Children 12 and younger will receive free general admission with a paid adult.
The NHRA New England Nationals is the 11th stop in the 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour that crisscrosses the United States and will feature exciting racing action in its four marquee categories: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle. The race will be televised to a nationwide audience on ESPN2HD.
To kick off the weekend's festivities, fans will be treated to a sneak-preview of the action, as the stars of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, including 15-time Funny Car world champ John Force, his teammate, 2009 Funny Car world champion Robert Hight, Rhode Island native Bob Tasca III, and Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon will participate in the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals Press Conference and Fan Fest, to be held in the heart of Boston, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, on Wednesday, June 19, starting at noon.
New England Dragway is no stranger to high-performance racing action. The legendary motorsports facility, located in Epping, N.H., first opened in 1966 and is still owned by many of the racers who built it.
Along with new improvements seen throughout the facility, nitro fans will receive a heartwarming welcome as they step foot on the property of historic New England Dragway. Only at NHRA events are fans given the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers and experience the interactive NHRA Nitro Alley, since every ticket is a pit pass.
Drivers are also eager to take their first runs at the legendary drag strip. New England Dragway will be a new playing field for each and every team in the NHRA Mello Yello Series and all are anxious to put their hot rods to the test at the new event.
In Top Fuel, U.S. Army dragster driver Tony Schumacher holds the series points lead, but his rival, two-time season winner Langdon, who pilots the Al-Anabi Racing dragster, will be one of the top challengers for victory. Others to watch include defending world champ Antron Brown, who has claimed two victories this season in his Matco Tools dragster, veteran Doug Kalitta who drives the Mac Tools dragster, Brandon Bernstein, Morgan Lucas and rookie driver Brittany Force, who pilots the Castrol Edge dragster.
Johnny Gray is leading the charge in Funny Car as the versatile driver has raced to three victories this season in his Pitch Energy Dodge Charger. 2011 world champion Matt Hagan driving his Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger has won twice this season and currently leads a tight point batlle. He is just 16 points in front of two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon who also has won twice in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry. Hight, John Force and Winternationals winner Courtney Force will be racing hard for a victory, as will, defending world champ Jack Beckman, Ron Capps. local-favorite Tasca, Tim Wilkerson and Del Worsham.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hector Arana Jr. has won three races aboard his Lucas Oil Buell and has been battling with a large contingent of challengers in the two-wheel category, including Sovereign Star Buell rider Scotty Pollacheck, defending world champ Eddie Krawiec on the Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, veteran Suzuki rider Steve Johnson, past champions Matt Smith and Andrew Hines and Connecticut-based rider John Hall.
The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series also will be showcased during the event, featuring exciting side-by-side racing action in Stock, Super Stock, Super Comp and Super Gas categories, among others.
The NHRA New England Nationals qualifying session will begin on Friday, June 21, with sessions at 4:45 and 6:45 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, June 22, at 12:15 and 2:15 p.m. Final eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 23.
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